Practices in Pedagogy

"To Teach is to Learn Twice Over"

EDU 4899- Reflection on Vocation

As part of the requirements for my EDU 4899 course, I was tasked to read Drs. Kline and Hartnett’s article: Preventing the Fall from the ‘Call to Teach’: Rethinking Vocation.  See the link below:

To describe my experience simply: it was incredibly bittersweet.

On one hand, I am now incredibly concerned I will push myself too hard, too fast, and expect too much of myself… only to fall into a state of complete burnout. I worry that I will be part of the staggering 45% of beginning secondary teachers that leave the profession in their first three years (Journal of Education and Christian Belief, 9). I can easily see myself getting caught up in the chaos of high expectations, thereby becoming increasingly overwhelmed by trying to be at my very best every single day of the week. I can easily see myself setting lofty, borderline unreachable goals, thereby making it impossible to ever truly be satisfied with my work. I can see myself volunteering to coach, advise a club, attend extra-curricular events, and join several school committees– all in the pursuit of more effectively serving my students and improving myself as an educator– yet falling under the colossal burden of trying to do too much. I can easily see all of this occurring, which scares me. Hartnett and Kline point to “discipline problems, reality shock, physical exhaustion, and lack of adequate salary” (9-10) as the reasons most new teachers quit the profession, which all seem like very real, very probable possibilities.

On the other hand, reading this article ironically makes me excited to begin my career. I am obviously going to respect the startling realities involved in beginning to teach. I will do this by remembering Drs. Hartnett and Kline‘s wise words about “Primary and Secondary callings” (12-13) seen below:

As you can see from the screenshot above, acknowledging the fact that we are called to be servants and worshippers of God first, and teachers second, will aid in the health and satisfaction of young teachers. I can definitely resonate with this notion, and will continually aim to remember this idea as I go into my first year of teaching. But most of all, I am enthusiastic for the work to come as it has been my dream, ever since I was a child, to become a teacher. And now- after 16 years of formal education, hours upon hours of reading and analyzing literature, even more hours writing essays, several internships, countless teacher observations, way too much practice grading papers, weeks spent lesson planning, completing the beastly TPA, and so much more– I have finally achieved my goal! How can I now be excited by this?!? I know it will be difficult, time-consuming, and straining on my heart, but I look forward to the work to come. I look forward to having my own classroom, to assigning my own projects, to grading my own students’ papers. I look forward to the many challenges and lessons to come!

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